The latest fashion in London is to hire a tutor for your kids. I hadn't realised how widespread this trend is until I volunteered to help my daughter and a group of friends to do a school project. It was impossible to meet up because one of the girls had a tutor for each subject. When we finally managed to go to her place, we had to wait for tutor number 1 to finish. We then worked on the project, and the next tutor was already there, waiting in the living room, when we left. The girl in question was seven. Yes, seven!
I am not going to patronise anyone and say that you shouldn't tutor your kids, because, after all, it is a personal choice. Often, teachers say that you shouldn't do it when in fact they have a business on the side tutoring children. They are doing some parents a favour, they say. Talk about British double standards.
This episode sent me back twenty years ago when I was a student. I was tutoring children to make ends meet. I was getting paid for the few children I was teaching, and I was also doing it for a charity, in a deprived area, as a volunteer. In both cases, it was a nightmare. The rich kids were expecting me to do their homework, the poor ones couldn't wait for the lessons to be over.
I stopped everything after a couple of years to start a job. It was a huge relief. Basically, I couldn't help the children because they were not eager to learn. That's not something that you can teach, right? How do you become curious and eager to learn? I have no idea. But if it is not there, well, it is not there. Believe me, I tried everything. I explained that you can't buy something if you can't count. I tried jokes, games and the likes. It didn't work. And I was exhausted.
Things haven't changed in twenty years. Why do some parents tutor their kids to death? I know that it is a competitive world out there, but come on, kids need to have a life.
Having said this, I don't pay a tutor but I do take care of my daughters. I try to cook with them and explain what quantities are. We read together and I try to teach them some French (with limited success only). In my household, there is no TV during the week. And mum is doing the tutoring. How about you, how do you manage?